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2016 Annual Meeting and Barn Tour

Welcome to the rolling hills and valleys of southern Schuylkill County, where historic log barns are Pennsylvania’s best kept secret. Expert barn historian Bob Ensminger agrees that Schuylkill County may hold the most log crib barns in the state. For your tour this weekend we have chosen six of the thirteen log barns that have been found just “over the Blue Mountain”, in a line from Oak Grove near the Swatara Gap, to the border with Carbon County and Lehigh County, near Tamaqua. Even more log barns are located in the western end of the county – hopefully for another barn tour! We’re even throwing in a glimpse of a log house with beautiful marriage marks, lunch in another log house which reportedly dates back to 1792, and a remarkable standard frame barn dated 1842.

In the mid-1700’s, the area now known as Schuylkill County was still a wild frontier, although there is documentation of early settlements. Early settlers came over the Blue Mountain from Berks County and Lebanon County and also through the Swatara Gap. There were many skirmishes with the Indians living here, and the early settlers petitioned the government for more protection. According to the History of Pine Grove, the people began to erect Watch houses and converted farm houses to block houses to guard the Indian trails. In 1755, “practically all the plantations between the Schuylkill River and the Swatara were abandoned, while the settlers engaged in the historic ‘Skedaddle’”. Finally, a line of forts were established along the Blue Mountain. Settlers would flee from their homes to the protection of these forts and block houses on the south side of the Blue until it was deemed safe to return to their homes.

Most of the early settlers were Germans, and most came to establish farms. Many of our farm families today are descendants of these first German settlers. We have quite a few farms that have been in the same family for 100 or 200 years. Some still hold the deeds that reference the original land warrants from the Penn brothers. A “Pennsylvania Dutch” culture developed that still exists to this day in some farm families. Go to the local feed store or local restaurants and you can still hear the older folks speaking the dialect. Our farm life still revolves around the seasons: spring planting, haymaking, harvest, hunting season, the holidays, then butchering with several farm families and friends joining in to help with the work, which includes making scrapple, “puddin”, and lard. When one farm family has a break-down or some other crippling event, the neighbors pitch in to help. Sunday is for church and a break from all but the necessary farm work.

Click below for the flyers.

Click for the information flyer

Click for the registration flyer

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

HBFF President Jeff Marshall recently attended The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA) annual conference in Gettysburg. Jeff shares some information on the conference as well as a number of great barns he encountered driving through Adams County, PA.

Click to read the great article

2015 Annual Barn Meeting and Tour

We had record breaking turnout for this years barn tour!

Click to see the photos

This year’s annual meeting and tour will be in Lancaster June 12 and 13. On the Friday, we will have afternoon paper sessions at the Landis Valley Farm Museum, followed by a barn tour and our banquet. Greg Huber has lined up some impressive barns for the Saturday bus tour, which will depart from Landis where there is ample parking. More details will be available in the Spring 2015 issue of the Forebay Post or click below for the flyer.

Click for side A of the flyer

Click for side B of the flyer

Since June in Lancaster is tourist season, no hotels were willing to reserve a large block of rooms for us at a good discount. There are many, many choices nearby, however, and early booking is recommended. For those of you without internet access to search for hotels, and possible online discounts, here are some suggestions. Closest and nicest is Best Western Eden Premier, 222 Eden Road, tel. 717-569-6444. The Days Inn on Lititz Pike is next closest and more modest in price and includes a breakfast buffet, tel. 866-460-7456. For the budget-minded, the Rodeway about 5 miles north on Rt 272 in Akron is no frills, no traffic, no breakfast, tel 717-859-1654. Most hotels in the area have AAA or AARP or other possible discounts if you ask. You can also contact the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau for information by calling 1-800-PA DUTCH.

Fall Barn Tours

If you are interested in exploring barns in Adams County, October 4, 2014 and Northampton county, September 13, 2014 please see the details on the tours below.

Click for the Saucon Valley Tour

Click for the Adams County Tour

Barn Voyage!

If you would like to spend your free-time on a self driving tour of some of Bucks Counties finest barns, click on the link below and enjoy the many fine barns featured courtesy of the Heritage Conservancy and the barn owners of these fine barns.

Click for the Bucks county tour

2014 Annual Meeting and Barn Tour

Everyone had a great time at the recent Annual meeting and barn tour held in western Pennsylvania. Stay tuned for photos from the 3 day event.

Click for photos from the 3 day event